In past times, communities did not have official police forces for protection. Individuals were forced to defend themselves and their families from aggressors, bandits, and other criminal elements. Over time, people developed ways to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Our style of Chinese martial art, Tien Shan Pai, is a particularly effective style because the ability to defend oneself is not reliant on strength, size, age, or gender. A small person can defend against a larger person. An older person can fend off attack by a larger person. A female can fight off a male aggressor. How? In a frontal attack, generally the larger, stronger, younger adult has the greater advantage. Tien Shan Pai techniques use stepping to the side to avoid frontal attack. From the side, skillfully applied blocks, punches, kicks, and joint locks can be executed by a trained individual of any age or size. So, big or small, male or female, young or old, can learn self-defense.

For those individuals concerned about physical limitations due to age or health, Tai Chi may be the better option for self-defense. We teach the Yang style, long form of Tai Chi. There is little or no-impact to the body.

When should children start Martial Arts?

Most students can begin training at four years of age. Many four-year olds can understand the difference between safety and danger. This is essential. Parents of younger children have asked us to train their children. Often, these younger children are capable of the physical movements and can understand the techniques. (Just look at very young children imitating martial arts kicks and punches learned from television and video games.) However, most three-year olds do not really understand danger and the consequences of using those kicks and punches. This is a safety issue for that child and the other students in class. Occasionally, we will meet a four-year old child who is not quite ready to begin training for various reasons. Usually it is a question of social maturity. Often, we will advise that child’s parents to wait and try again in a few months.

Up to what age should adults study martial arts?

How old is too old? Shi Fu Paul Jakubowski began training when he was 38 years old. Others have begun later in life. Our oldest Kung Fu student is in his sixties. Some older adults are very physically fit, but others have begun to have health issues and physical limitations. We will work with our students to help them learn techniques that will be appropriate for their abilities.

For those students who prefer to avoid any impact (for example, no jumping), Tai Chi is another option. Tai Chi IS an ancient martial art. The movements used in Tai Chi are martial arts techniques, punching, kicking, blocking, etc., but they are practiced at a very slow pace. When needed, the movements can be sped up using muscle memory.

Most of our Tai Chi students study for the health benefits of this art, but it is still a martial art. Our oldest student is in his nineties.

Is martial arts training just for guys?

No. Since bullies and transgressors can be young or old, male or female, everyone, regardless of gender, should learn self-defense. Our goal is to train individuals so that they can successfully and happily live among others. Being responsible, confident, fit, and safe should be everyone’s goal.

Our staff male to female ratio is about 1 to 1. Thirty-five percent of our students are female. Since self-defense skills are useful for everyone, it would be ideal to have an equal amount of males and females.

In the summer, we will get inquiries about self-defense for daughters going off to college. Personal safety for the young adult is needed in today’s world. We do offer short-term self-defense classes for girls and women (boys and men, too). These classes (usually 4 to 8 week sessions) offer both training in the specific skills and the time to practice those skills. Without sufficient practice, these skills will not become natural responses to aggressive behavior.

How can someone start training in martial arts or self-defense?

Our Kung Fu classes or Tai Chi classes have open enrollment. We do not have seasonal sessions. All Kung Fu or Tai Chi students begin with our Introductory Program which consists of 4 lessons. The first two lessons are private lessons to get the student started in the techniques and aspects of Kung Fu or Tai Chi. The third and fourth lessons are taken during the regularly scheduled Monday through Friday classes. All four of these lessons are pre-scheduled so that a teacher can be assigned to the new student and (for the first two lessons) to make sure that the private classroom is available. Once someone becomes a member of the school and is a regular student, classes from the entire schedule, including Saturdays, are available.

For persons (12 years and older) interested in the short-term self-defense classes, these sessions are offered quarterly or sometimes, more frequently. There is usually at least one session offered in the early summer so that students can complete the classes before school begins in the fall.

Please call or email us for more information regarding our martial arts or self-defense programs!

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